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East Coast Weather on the West Coast

February 4th, 2019 at 06:33 pm

We got hit by bitter weather yesterday. Several inches of snow fell and the temperature was 19 degrees. The wind made it worse. The roads might as well have been glass in the places where the sun doesn't really hit them. We had a problem on one hill where I had to stop for someone who ran a stop sign and then couldn't get my car to go forward. I had to back down the hill a bit and move over to get some traction. I did make it up. I couldn't really blame the guy who ran his stop sign as he did try to stop. He just slid through the intersection.

I didn't know how bad it actually was when we went out yesterday or I wouldn't have gone. But out we did go and we spent all of the money in the Clothing Envelope, plus $20 in the household envelope. DS was out of his body wash, which we have to get a special type since he's allergic to so much. The stores we usually buy it out have stopped carrying it, so we had to track down one who did. So we bought 5 bottles of that and then I took DS to Penney's and bought him two pairs of jeans and two pairs of slacks. They actually had pants there that were 29 inches long. He usually has to get 30, but that's a little long, so he was very happy.

DH had taken him to get new shoes the day before and we ordered new shoes for DD. So no more clothes buying until we can refill that Clothing Envelope. I had thought I needed new shoes, but it turns out when I bought the last pair it was buy one get one and so I'd stuck the second pair in my closet for the future. DH found them for me and it is such a difference on my feet.

Today the roads are bare and it is 27 degrees, but the wind is even worse. We had to go and buy a space heater for the rabbit shed as we had so many power failures last night (they lasted about a minute each, so maybe surges is a better word) that it fried the heater out there, even though it has a surge protector on it. It was an older heater anyway. We don't heat it very high, just the lowest setting, but it keeps their water bottles from freezing. Since I had run out of money in the Household Envelope, I took it out of the Personal Care Envelope. That's the money I'd set aside to get my hair cut, but I can go another month without. I might even go until spring, since the long hair is keeping my back warm.

After that we stopped at another store and got the special hand soap my son has to use, since he was nearly out of that as well. It's fun having a kid that is allergic to nearly ever skin product out there. /sarcasm We wanted to get him what he needed before we go to Seattle Wednesday night. Usually I have a stockpile, but I really let things run down when I was so sick.

Once we get back from Seattle, I will do a grocery shop, but it will not be a massive one. I'll get breakfast meats, but not any other kinds of meat. I have quite a large stockpile now that we need to go through and eat down before I buy any meat. I've done a two week meal plan based around what we have on hand, which I will post separately. I am hoping to keep the grocery budget to half this payday.

This and That

January 2nd, 2019 at 11:41 pm

They were having a 20% off plus free shipping deal on Vitamin Shoppe today so I went ahead and reordered my vitamins. We were out of Vitamin D (without soy) almost and we take a lot during the winter months here due to SADS. I ordered 6 bottles of it, 2 bottles of Vitamin A (without soy), 2 bottles of fish oil (that does not have polysorbate-80 in it), and a big bottle of Vitamin C (without soy). I spent $123.08 after the discount was applied. I should be set for some time on vitamins.

I started work on the novel again. I wrote about 1008 words and I plan on getting back to it when I finish posting here. I am going to try to post every day this month and I am running out of today, so thought I'd hop on and do this quick.

Still holding strong on cooking from the meal plan and not eating out.

I worked on decluttering my room a bit today. I am taking it one section at a time. I am overcoming years of packrat tendencies, but sometimes it is slow going. I am just sick of living a cluttered existence, so one of my goals for 2019 is to put an end to that. We have been working towards it for a while now.

DS will be getting some more cooking lessons this week and next. He'll be learning how to make the tater tot casserole, homemade pizza from scratch, pork carnitas, chicken shawarma and homemade pita bread, and the sausage/bell peppers/onions stir-fry dish. He is really enjoying the cooking lessons and was bummed that we had to stop in December due to my illness.

I think that about covers it.

Two Week Grocery Spend

December 30th, 2018 at 10:08 pm

So we got stuff from every store this time. First time I have had the energy to do so. Not all in one day. We did this in two days, Friday and Sunday. There is still a limit to what my body can tolerate even on a good day with the rheumatiod arthritis.

Our first stop was Winco where I spent $143.60 and purchased the following:

1 bag of hamburger patties (20 ct)
1 bag frozen corn on the cob (4 ct)
1 5 lb bag of French fries
1 5 lb bag of Tater Tots
1 quart of Strawberry Yogurt (Zoi Greek)
1 bag of baby spinach
2 pounds of shredded cheddar cheese
1 box Eggo Strawberry waffles
3 packages of chicken legs (14 ct per package)
1 lb of bacon
2 packages of ribeye steaks (2 ct per package)
1 8.8 lb pork shoulder roast (will cut into 3 roasts)
2 bags of Funyuns
1 party size bag of Lays Potato Chips
2 Mrs. Grass Noodle Soup (2 ct per package)
1 package Dave's Bagels (5 ct)
1 package Oroweat English Muffins (6 ct)
1 loaf Naked bread
1 quart minced garlic
2 jars Miracle Whip
12 oz granulated garlic
1 can Winco French cut green beans
1 red bell pepper
2 lbs fresh green beans
2 yellow squash
2 zucchini
1 green cabbage
2 cucumbers

The pork roast was .98/lb, but they were all 8 to 10 pounds, so I got one that was almost 9 pounds, so we will cut it up and get 3 roasts out of it. I got the canned green beans to try out. Winco brands have been about 75% hit and 25% miss for us, so I only ever get one new item of a type to try. We are almost out of what I canned this summer, so if we like these I'll get a few cases. They are only 50 cents each.

Next up was Trader Joe's where I spent $114.57 and I bought:

2 reusable grocery bags
8 bags of chicken fried rice
2 bags of roasted potatoes and peppers
6 bags of frozen chicken Alfredo Fettucine
1 bag of frozen sliced leeks
2 packages uncured beef hot dogs
1 box cod fish nuggets
1 bag organic string cheese
1 2 lb bag of organic colorful carrots
1 tube of ginger paste
1 chunk of St. Andre triple cream Brie
1 iceberg lettuce
3 lb bag of Mandarin oranges
5 lbs of organic red potatoes
8 lbs of organic gold potatoes

Next stop was Haggen, where I spent $30.55 and bought:

1 bottle of Wok Mai Hoison sauce
1 log of chevré (soft goat cheese)
1 chunk of Merlot Parmesan cheese
1 bottle of ground ginger
1 1/2 gallon of milk

Then today we went to Costco first and bought some household stuff but that comes out of the household budget, and only one food item that came to $8.49.

1 quart of Strawberry Jam

Since we were on that side of town we swung by the Food Co-op and spent $21.97. I bought:

1 8 oz jar of minced ginger
1 1/2 gallon of eggnog (only DH drinks this)
1 dozen duck eggs

The eggnog has $1.75 bottle deposit which we will get back when we return the bottle to the store. It is from a local dairy that does all of its milk, buttermilk, and cream in glass bottles. DH just likes that brand of eggnog better than anything that comes in a carton. If he hadn't been with me, I wouldn't have bought it. Duck eggs are due to me having a chicken egg allergy. They are expensive, but they are so big I generally only eat one at a time, not two.

Finally, we went to Safeway and spent $37.64 on:

2 lbs Dietz and Watson London Broil deli meat
1 lb Dietz and Watson Homestyle turkey deli meat
1 orange bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper

The deli meat is pricey, but it doesn't have additives and preservatives and it was on sale for half price. I stock up and freeze some when it goes on sale because the normal price is $13.99 a pound, so $7.99 a pound is a much preferred price. Fortunately it goes on sale about twice a month.

So that is everything I purchased and I spent a total of $348.33. That leaves me with $51.67 to buy milk, bread, lettuce, and spinach next week. Now I need to sit down and make up my meal plan.

Payday Report for 12/28/18

December 30th, 2018 at 09:33 pm

$268.74 Tithe
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
__75.00 Household Envelope
_900.00 Dental Crown
__61.74 Life Insurance DH
__60.46 Life Insurance Me
_100.00 Blow Money Adults
_120.00 Allowances
_500.00 Monster Mom Loan Payment
-----------
2485.94 Total Money Out

Update Complete with Nasty Cold

December 6th, 2018 at 06:04 pm

On Sunday I woke up with a cough that progressively moved lower and lower this week until I sounded like a deep bass male. For the record I'm a contralto on a normal day. I no longer sound like a man, but my voice is in the tenor range. I am still coughing like crazy. I did write a chapter on Saturday, but haven't touched the book since. I find it better not to write when I'm taking this much cold medicine.

I have managed, barely, to make dinner the past 2 nights, thanks to the Instant Pot and a supply of beef and pork roasts. I am managing to eat one meal a day and the rest of the day I am just drinking bone broth, which thank goodness I had made on Saturday. I need to make more but the idea of it is a little overwhelming.

I've been sleeping a lot, and binge watching Say Yes to the Dress on Hulu. I don't generally like reality TV shows. Dancing with the Stars is the only one, really. I'm not terribly into fashion either. But this show is like candy. No substance, but some really beautiful creations. It's like art with fabric as the medium. Better yet it is completely mindless so I didn't have to focus on a plot at all, because honestly, I couldn't right now if I tried.

I did manage to take a shower and that's all I'm going to manage today. It wiped me out, but it was worth it. I'll have DH pick up take out tonight. Probably Polynesian so there will be some vegetables in it. All I want to do is crawl back into bed, but I'm trying to stay upright for a couple of hours until DH gets home and can change the sheets. The idea of doing it by myself is exhausting.

I hope this starts to go away soon. It hurts and I was just starting to feel really good after a week on the diet. Well, I'm still on the diet and I've lost a lot, but once my appetite comes back, I'm not sure what will happen. Currently I am .9 lbs from my dietbet goal weight and it hasn't been quite two weeks yet. I have been off the Pepsi for a week as well.

I can already see a huge difference in our grocery budget. Pepsi was starting to take a huge chunk out of it. DH is off it, too, so we aren't buying it at all. I can't believe I let myself get addicted to it again, but at least that is over.

DH's office Christmas Party is Saturday. I won't be able to go and I feel really bad about it, because we had to RSVP. It's a catered buffet. Although they are serving alcohol which usually means someone will make an idiot of themselves. I'm going to tell him to ask his mother to go. I think that she would enjoy having an evening out with her son. I was really looking forward to it, too. We haven't gone out for a night away from the kids in ages.

DH had to order a new cushion for his c-pap mask, so that was $67.95 out of the medical fund. I ordered two prescription refills today, too, but don't know the cost of that yet. Otherwise we haven't been spending. It's hard to spend when you can't leave your bed. Not impossible, Amazon exists after all, but harder.

DD has an appointment at Virginia Mason with a doctor that specializes in endometriosis on the 19th. My goal is for us to be well by then. DD has the cold, too. Although we are still going even if we aren't. I am going to get the name of the anesthesiologist who worked on her for her gall bladder surgery before we go to prove that there is one that is willing to do a laparoscopic surgery for her. Then it'll be a question of convincing the doctor.

DD doesn't care about the risks. She has no quality of life, so to her it is worth any risk to try to get this taken care of. She can't work, she can't go to school, she just exists in a pain-filled lump. I remember these symptoms well from my days with this disease. But I didn't have to fight for treatment because I was at a normal weight. Hopefully this doctor will be compassionate enough to try. None of the ones around here are, but then again, they don't specialize in this disease.

Household Purchases and Building a Desk

November 24th, 2018 at 06:05 pm

DH has made a couple of household purchases this week. He spent $20 on a cast iron heating duct cover for the bathroom floor. The heating duct in the bathroom is really close to the toilet and sometimes gets stepped on. It is really poorly placed and it should have been moved when the remodel was done a few years ago, but they didn't do it.

We have broken the last two plastic covers in a relatively short amount of time. This one is solid. You can literally stand on top of it with no issue whatsoever. Not that we will on purpose, but the fact that we can without it breaking is wonderful.

Then today he picked up a box of screws and spent $12. He needed it to assemble the desk he and DS are building. DH got two gorgeous desk top pieces about a year ago free from a store that was at the end of a close out sale and just wanted to get rid of them. They had been trying to sell them for $5 the week before, but there had been no takers.

So they built legs for it and DS sanded them and stained them a really pretty dark blue that will match the curtains and bed spread in the room. They will finish the assembly today and put it in his room. The only thing it won't have yet is a pull out keyboard drawer. DS will be purchasing that and attaching it once he has saved up the money for it. We paid for the wood to make the legs, the stain, and the screws. I told DS that if he wanted the drawer he had to pony up the money himself.

The great thing about this is they were able to cut the legs to the exact right height for DS to work comfortably at it. Sometimes when you are tall the desks are way too short. As for the other desk top, DH put it on top of an old high sewing table he'd inherited years ago for his own desk. It looks great and gives him much more surface area. He didn't even need to attach it so many out on that one at all. Not bad for free.

Food Holidays

November 23rd, 2018 at 07:37 pm

Well, I've successfully made it 2/3 of the way through the food holiday gamut. I did not indulge in Halloween at all and I had a very balanced plate of food on Thanksgiving (no desserts, my carbs went to stuffing and potatoes, which I'd always rather eat).

However my day to day choices have sucked this year, I'm eating poorly and I'm back on Pepsi (sugar kind, not corn syrup kind), and all my clothes are tight. The store where I usually clothes shop is going out of business soon so I wouldn't even be able to buy new clothes. And I shouldn't. I have plenty of clothes one size down, so I signed up for a $30 Dietbet.

It will hopefully give me motivation to get back on track every day of the week. It starts on the 25th. I wavered a bit on choosing the one I did and one that starts on the 26th. The one I chose has less players and a smaller pot, but that always feels more intimate than being lost in a horde.

Mine's called The End of Year Showdown with Cristinadown100 and is a 4 week Kickstarter. I need to lose 13.5 pounds in that amount of time. I should be able to do that because I'll be getting back off the soda and that is usually ten pounds of retained water right there.

Normally I don't like to do Kickstarters, I like to do the Transformers which last six months, but I don't have that amount of money in my blow money envelope. I always like to prepay the entire six months because then you get one month's discount. So the plan is to do the Kickstarters. leave the money in, and hopefully earn enough to pay for a Transformer.

Thanksgiving was okay this year. MIL bailed the night before, which was disapointing, because I'd bought a ham specifically for her. She decided to spend the evening with her daughter instead, even though they are doing a Thanksgiving for that side on Saturday and SIL will be there. I don't know. It was very hurtful. The kids and DH were not happy.

It's the same kind of favoritism she often shows towards her daughter over her son and her children over ours. I should be used to it by now, but I'm not, because it hurts my family. I am choosing to not make a fuss, though. MIL has been very generous to us financially this year. I guess it is okay if she just wants to throw money at us and not see us. I'm not sure what that means for Christmas, but I'm bracing for a repeat.

I did find MIL a lovely gift for Christmas, though. It is a beautiful blanket with a carousel horse on it. She collects carousel horses and music boxes and it has gotten harder and harder to find her one she doesn't have or that plays something other than the carousel waltz, which she has come to loathe. DS ordered the camera he wants with his Christmas money so that should be here soon. I have purchased part of my own gift which is a queen size electric blanket. The other part of my gift is season 11 of The Big Bang Theory.

DD wants to get an electric blanket like the one I got for me and a really good heating pad. DH is narrowing down what he wants and then he'll order that and Christmas shopping will be done for the year. We don't exchange gifts with my side of the family. We quit years ago. I will likely make some fudge for my mother, though. We are on budget, so I am thrilled. We might even have $50 left.

I don't think I am going to make a turkey with all the trimmings for Christmas this year. Tearing up the bread for the stuffing and doing all the stirring for the gravy did a number on my wrists and I'm not sure I want to repeat that any time soon. Even with DH and DS peeling and chopping the potatoes, it was just too much.

I think things are just going to be very low key. We'll go out and look at lights this year, though. We skipped that the last two years and I miss doing it. Although it'll probably be a few days before Christmas. So many people go away for the holidays that you can miss some really good displays if you wait until the day of or the night before. I just want to keep it all simple. I'm tired of putting out effort, to be honest.

Payday Report for 11/16/18 Plus Lots of Miscellany

November 16th, 2018 at 06:00 pm

Been a while since I felt well enough to do one of these, but things are improving with the rheumatoid arthritis this week after about three weeks in full inflamation mode and I am typing with relative ease again, which is why I've been posting this week at all.

We had some overtime this week, 10 hours. All of it went to DH's crown, because it turns out our dental insurance didn't cover any of it, even though it said it would when they did the preauthorization. DH is going to talk to HR at work, because the plan they say they have they don't. So that means we have to come up with another $700 or so out of pocket.

I was able to put $600 into the medical fund instead of the usual $400 this payday, but that means that all of that will have to go towards the crown. Fortunately with this deposit there is $961 in the medical fund. We won't have the breathing room I had hoped for, but we will be able to pay for the rest of the crown.

I have done the budget for December and I am including the extra paycheck for November 30th onto that budget and not the November budget, since it is paying for December things. So on 11/30 I can put $400 into the medical fund and on 12/14 I can put in $700, and on 12/28 I can put in $900.

DS has a sleep study on November 26th (at least if they don't reschedule again) and I am not sure how much that will cost us. The family deductible is $2000 and DD has met $1000 of it (her limit), and I know I have met some of it. I think maybe $500. I know DD has met her out of pocket max, but I think that has a per person as well as a per family, too.

So I don't know for sure whether or not we will have any money left for next year's deductible. That $1500 for the crown instead of $750 is blowing us out of the water. Plus DH wants to get new glasses. He's more than due. At least the vision is decent, but it'll still be around $200. He's getting cheap frames no matter what. Nothing fancy. He's already cost us too much medical money with that crown, even if half of it had been covered.

Here's what went out today:

$319.93 Tithe
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
_600.00 Medical Fund
__75.00 Household Envelope
_596.31 DH's Crown (plus additional from last payday)
__61.74 DH Life Insurance
__60.46 Me Life Insurance
_100.00 Blow Money Adults
_120.00 Allowances
_100.00 Clothing Envelope
_100.00 Christmas Envelope
_172.84 Computer Fund
----------------
3051.38 Total Money Out

DH purchased his new computer online today, so the computer fund is now wiped out. I'll start over in December, but I think at only at $50 a month. We were doing $100 because DH's was on it's last legs and it really felt like a race to the finish line on whether or not it would last until we had the money. His was five years old.

We all have newish computers now. Mine is the oldest at barely two years old and it is still in excellent shape, so there is no urgency to build the fund back up. Still, I want to have something going in there, and it is possible a phone could go and have to be replaced, though it is doubtful. I don't think any of them are a year old yet. Maybe mine. But it is serviceable. Who knows what the status of my computer will be in another year and having the money sitting there to replace it if it goes kaput is always the better option.

Payday Report for 9/21/18

September 21st, 2018 at 02:22 pm

I did not go down to the last dollar this time. I have about $250 left in checking. There may be one more autopay yet to come through and then anything else I am holding on to for upcoming medical bills. DH was wrong about the last paycheck not having overtime on it. It had 10 hours. This one is a true representation of base pay with no OT and all of the various insurances and the 401K being taken out.

$268.77 Tithe
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
_400.00 Medical Fund
_100.00 Household Envelope
_352.30 Autopays
__56.83 Life Insurance DH
__45.30 Life Insurance Me
_100.00 Adults Blow Money
_120.00 Kid's Allowances
_100.00 Clothing Envelope
_100.00 Holiday Envelope
_100.00 Laptop Fund
---------
2232.31 Total Money Out